Predicting the launch date of a new iPhone is always a big event in the tech media world, but it’s especially true this year given that Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) has broken with tradition by not shipping a new model in the summer. It’s pretty easy to suspect that the iPhone 5 will arrive around the “fall” timeframe Apple attached to the release of iOS 5 and iCloud, but a new report says that iPhone fans will probably have a new model in time for the World Series.
All Things D quotes a source downplaying reports from last week that AT&T (NYSE: T) had been banning vacation during the last two weeks of September in preparation for a launch during that period. While not denying that such prep work is actually taking place, the report says that the phone will definitely launch in October, as opposed to September.
There are many who are likely rolling their eyes at iPhone launch date reports, given that they’ve now ranged anywhere from August to October. But it’s probably the single most important launch of the mobile world in 2011, given that it will have been about 18 months since the last model made its debut. And during that period, Android became the most widely used mobile operating system in the U.S.
That growth hasn’t really affected the iPhone as much as it has other companies such Nokia (NYSE: NOK) and Research in Motion (NSDQ: RIMM), but it will be interesting to see how Android vendors and the general public respond to the new iPhone. Apple, of course, has yet to announce a ship date for the iPhone 5 (nor has it acknowledged the product exists) so they can’t be said to be behind schedule compared to launches in past years. But it will likewise be interesting to see how iPhone demand and growth is affected by skipping the back-to-school shopping season and launching during the peak of the consumer electronics year, the three months before the winter holidays.